Whether it is on one of our RYA milebuilder cruises or a RYA course we try and go somewhere a little bit special and Portpatrick in the photo is one of my favourites. We will probably call in on the first leg of our ‘Irish Rover’ trip at the end of August. After we return to Lymington in September we have a few RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses coming up the first starts Friday evening 5th October and I will schedule more courses and mile building sailing next week.

3 Peaks Yacht Race report

3 Peaks Yacht Race 2018—Line Honours plus 1st on IRC and King of the Mountains

Starting in Barmouth and finishing near Fort William the original Three Peaks Yacht Race is one of the oldest and most remarkable multi-sport endurance races in the world. It draws competitors from all sporting backgrounds & with sailing experience from off-shore cruising to round-the-world races. Sailing & sports clubs, military & company teams all enter & compete on equal terms.

Heading North I had first met Steve and the Irish team for the 3 peaks yacht race in Greystones Marina whilst taking Wild Spirit round from Lymington to Troon, which was to be our base for summer 2018. Steve wanted to pick my brains about the race, which didn’t take long, and I was interested in their preparations which involved new instruments and a very well turned out racing yacht.

The new secret weapon Barmouth was much the same as last time except sunny. Our preparations were behind as the University hadn’t built the new prototype pedal power unit designed by an MSc in time. So Shelf had knocked one up using the leg of an outboard and his wife’s old bike plus an electric drill bit connected with a flexible drive.

He was still working on it when I was asked to talk to a group of school children about the race. They asked the right questions and were clearly amused by Shelf’s impression of a mad inventor. At the end one asked will you win? I replied probably not and the Irish were the team to follow; prophetic words.

Crossing the Bar, The Three Peaks is a tough race with serious tidal gates and the second one is Caernarfon Bar which had stopped us dead in 2017 alongside 2 other yachts. Before this there was the YC Bar as well which we negotiated with care. The new pedal powered unit was very much a prototype and the gearing ratios were experimental, as we joined the parade out to the start in a rush we had not hoisted it from the water and it set off pedalling itself off the prop, designed to produce half a knot it was now operating at 7 and rotating with such vigour that we had to stop Wild Spirit to enable safe retrieval.

The start was reasonably good without needing to row, one unusual feature of this race is that you can row (or pedal) and in 2017 we rowed about 20 miles. The run up to Bardsey sound was without incident but the wind was dying and rowing was required, the pedal powered unit was briefly deployed and stayed with us through the race but any extra it gave us probably didn’t make up for its weight.

With little wind we struggled on, night fell and dawn came with Bardsey still insight We could see Baloo doing well in close to the shore but we had no way of getting there. The sun rose, the breeze came and we crossed Caernarfon Bar under spinnaker and sailed to the ‘engine on point’ then motored in to drop off the two runners.

Spinnaker run A few repairs a quick shop, half an hours rest and then back to pick the runners up. Most years we go north through the Swellies but the tide was just turning against us and there was a northerly wind. No one has won the race going round the outside of Anglesey before, we were first away; decision time. We went round but first we motored back to the engine . . . → Read More: 3 Peaks Yacht Race report

Over the Sea to Skye

28th July to 11th August sees our big cruise this year with St Kilda as the destination. We will also try and take in Skye (in photo) and several other of the outer Hebrides. This is a RYA Milebuilder trip and you can expect to be very much involved in sailing Wild Spirit helping navigate etc. We have 4 experienced team members on board so we can take a keen novice. Likely to be a night sail at some stage and a chance to see some spectacular scenery. This is the last of our mile building sailing in Scotland before we set off back south over 3 one week trips.

When the going gets tough…

Picture shows our Aussie team on the way to first in Division in Sydney to Hobart in about 30 kts of breeze.

The difference between offshore racing such as the Fastnet and coastal racing is about being able to hide when the going gets tough. We do both Caostal (includes cross channel) and offshore races plus occaisionally an Ocean one.

If you are interested in starting races consider our race to Cherbourg in September and bear in mind the sea is at its warmest on 21st September. It helps if you have done a RYA course plus some mile building sailing but it is really about attitude and whether you are up for it.

Starting Racing

Picture is from Caribbean 600 and shows the best of both Worlds, we are doing 12 kts in low 20s C and trade winds. But it isn’t always like that and the last thing a racing team needs are passengers. But here is the problem, you have completed a RYA course or 2 and perhaps a milebuilder trip with night sailing. You think you might like racing but you aren’t sure and don’t want to let others down. Its the last bit that matters, racing is very much a team game and you all need each other. A good start is a cross channel or coastal race of at least 30NM, if it doesn’t suit you it isn’t the end of the world and as long as you haven’t ‘bigged yourself up’ the rest of the team will understand.

Volvo Round Ireland Race

Longer and more serious than the Fastnet plus great fun, in many peoples view the best offshore race in the World.

You can follow Wild Spirit sprogress after the start on 30th June via the link on https://roundireland.ie/wp/ and yellow brick tracker. We will do our best to beat our old friends Irish Offshore sailing again. Pictured in 2014 race.

After the race we finish in Wicklow then have a mile builder sailing trip back to Troon. This is the bargain of all the RYA mile building, we start Wicklow and finish in Troon, both are easy for Dublin and Glasgow airports respectively.

The square spinnaker

Andy, first mate for the Volvo Round Ireland team was one of them. That is the group that ended up at a fisherman’s party in Wicklow the night before the race. Drink had been taken! The next day a bit the worse for it we started well and then needed to hoist a spinnaker. The foredeck committee consisted of 4 as we hadn’t gone into the watch system yet and they sat in front of the mast debating vociferously. Soon the reason became apparent, one didn’t have a corner. After having been gently re-assured by the skipper that spinnakers really only did have 3 corners it was eventually hoisted. Whilst we do have the odd tipple ashore, we never drink and sail, so please do bear this in mind when signing up for RYA mile builders or mile building sailing trips with us.

3 Peaks Yacht Race success

Success in the 3 Peaks yacht race finishing first on the water, winning on IRC and Shelf plus Jon, in picture, taking King of the Mountains. Thank you to all well wishers and Judith as ‘support team’ Race date is 15th June next year. Amazing race with only yards between us and the Irish team at the finish after 400miles. Volvo Ropund Ireland next then more RYA mile building sailing with a mile builder out to St Kilda before returning from Scotland.

And they called him…

In August we start back south from Scotland with our three Irish Rover RYA mile builders, the first leg will have several nights in port and it is just possible the skipper may be seen singing. The second mile building sailing leg has the ‘big crossing’and we may pop into the Isles of Scilly if conditions are right. There will be at least one night sail on this leg.

The third from Plymouth up to Lymington might go by way of Alderney or Cherbourg in which case we will definetly have at least one good meal out.